and Diesel Prices Set Records
January 2004, gasoline and diesel prices have risen dramatically. During
the spring, new price records were established across the state for both
fuels. Prices for gasoline are averaging about 50 cents a gallon higher
this year than last. Diesel prices are up about 30 cents a gallon over
last year. Economists estimate that a penny increase at the pump costs
Americans $1 billion a year more. In response to the price rise, Governor
Johanns asked the Energy Office to increase the monitor prices and supplies
across the state and to make that information available to the public
on the agency's web site. The latest price and supply information is available
The Attorney General's office asked Nebraskans who suspect gasoline stations
of manipulating prices to report that information to the Office of Consumer
Protection at 1-800-727-6432.
The state's farmers will be paying a lot more to raise corn and soybeans
this year because of increases in electricity and diesel fuel prices.
According to a University of Nebraska extension educator in south central
Nebraska, irrigation costs could rise to about $90 an acre this year,
compared to $70 an acre last year.
Three main factors were cited for this spring's price rise: a rise in
the price of a barrel of oil, increasing demand for petroleum products,
especially in the United States and China, and the inability of refiners
to keep up with demand.
There are 149 refineries in the nation in 33 states - none are in Nebraska
- with a capacity of 16.8 million barrels a day according to the National
Petroleum Refiners Association. In 1981, there were 321 refineries with
a capacity of 18.6 million
barrels a day.
According to the Energy Information Administration, the price of a gallon
of gasoline is comprised of four components: crude oil, 46 percent; taxes,
24 percent; refining, 19 percent; and distribution and marketing, 11 percent.
Currently, U.S. gasoline demand averages 9 million barrels a day, with
domestic refineries supplying 90 percent of the fuel.
Oil and Price Information Service speculated that prices could remain
high and volatile throughout the summer driving period with price spikes
around the Fourth of July and Labor Day holidays. However, by Thanksgiving
gasoline prices should fall to around $1.60 a gallon. The Service cautioned that forecasting prices is difficult since events overseas can affect
retail prices. Any one of a number of events locally or internationally
could cause a rise in prices:
said the factors that caused this year's price increase won't be going away
anytime soon. In the latest monthly forecast, the U.S. Department of Energy
predicted the national price for regular unleaded gasoline will average
$1.89 a gallon from July through September. For the period April through
September, the agency predicted a national price average of $1.94, 35 cents
a gallon higher than last year.
leaks and refinery fires or unplanned shutdowns
strike by workers, especially in Venezuela or Nigeria
upheavals or attacks on oil facilities.
One way for Nebraskans to save at the pump, is to fuel up with gasoline
blended with 10 percent ethanol. Typically, the blended fuel is several
cents a gallon cheaper, and you're buying a fuel made in the state or surrounding states.